Fusion GPS tried to tie Trump to Clinton’s pedophile pal Epstein

Clinton Flew on Lolita Express 26 times, ditched his Secret Service detail

Part of a Smear Campaign

By Rowan Scarborough – The Washington Times
Sunday, December 10, 2017

Fusion GPS, the opposition research firm whose Democrat-financed Russia dossier fueled an FBI investigation into Donald Trump, pitched other stories about the Republican presidential candidate to Washington reporters, including an attempt to tie him to a convicted pedophile who was once buddies with former President Bill Clinton.

Journalist sources told The Washington Times that Fusion founder Glenn Simpson pushed the idea of a close relationship between Mr. Trump and Jeffrey Epstein, who pleaded guilty in 2008 to soliciting sex from an underage girl.

The Trump-Epstein link appears purely social, far short of Mr. Clinton’s 20-plus plane rides on Epstein’s “Lolita Express” private jet around the globe in the early 2000s.

Ken Silverstein, the reporter who ultimately wrote an Epstein-Trump report, confirmed to The Times that Fusion had sourced the story. Mr. Silverstein, founder and editor of WashingtonBabylon.com who wrote the story for Vice.com, defended Mr. Simpson as a solid source of information that must first be confirmed.

For years, Fusion GPS has been an influential hidden hand in Washington, with entree into the city’s most powerful news bureaus.

Behind the scenes, the private intelligence firm run by former Wall Street Journal reporters was particularly active last year working to defeat Mr. TrumpFusion leader Mr. Simpson, who railed against sleazy opposition research as a reporter, harbored a strong desire to bring down the builder of hotels with, well, opposition research.

Fusion representatives met with New York Times reporters during the Democratic National Convention in July 2016.

Ironically, it appears The Times was the first to out Fusion on Jan. 11 as the source of the scandalous dossier that BuzzFeed posted the previous day. BuzzFeed did the posting without identifying Fusion or dossier writer Christopher Steele, a former British spy.

“The New York Times, I know they work with Fusion,” said Mr. Silverstein, an investigative reporter who skewers the left and right. “Fusion works with a lot of big media organizations. That would give them influence in Washington.”

“I have worked with them,” he said. “I have gotten tips from them and stories from them. And every time I do, I go out and re-report … because I assume it is for a client and it is not 100 percent accurate. And I’ve never gotten anything from them that was 100 percent accurate. Not because they were slanting or lying or twisting. Every time I’ve gotten something from them, ‘This is a report. You’ve got to check it out.’ I have a great relationship with those guys.”

During summer 2016, Fusion’s juicy tidbits enticed a number of elite journalists to heed Mr. Simpson’s call to meet Mr. Steele in person.

By then, Fusion had amassed a deep database on Mr. Trump, his contacts, his holdings and his deals.

Fusion has filed a ton of [Freedom of Information Act] requests on Trump, especially in New York,” said the journalist source who asked not to be named and has had contact with the firm.

A Washington Times inquiry found that Mr. Simpson and crew were dishing out other supposed dirt on Mr. Trump and friends not contained in the 35-page dossier. Some of those tips have proved to be as shaky as Mr. Steele’s election collusion charges.

Besides the Jeffrey Epstein dump, Fusion pushed the story that a special email server existed between Trump Tower and Moscow’s Alfa bank, the journalist source said. The report has failed to catch on. Internet sleuths traced the IP address to a marketing spam server located outside Philadelphia.

Pre-dossier, readers rarely had seen Fusion’s hand in sourcing stories even though it may have instigated and framed scores of them over the years.

Fusion unmasked

Today, Fusion’s cover has been blown. It feels the sting of unwanted publicity in both the liberal and conservative press and intense scrutiny from Republicans on Capitol Hill. Senate and House committees demanded that Fusionproduce representatives for hours of closed-door testimony.

Devin Nunes, California Republican and chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, signed subpoenas forcing Fusion to disclose who pays it and whom it pays. His probe unmasked the Hillary Clinton campaign and the Democratic Party as dossier financiers.

Why such intense intrusion into a secretive opposition research firm?

The unmasking agent was Fusion’s own product: Mr. Steele’s dossier. It has proved to be so unfounded on its core collusion charges yet so influential in prompting investigations of the president that Republicans demanded to know its roots.

Those roots are: After Democrats paid Fusion through a middleman law firm, Mr. Simpson in June 2016 hired Mr. Steele with Clinton campaign cash. Mr. Steele in turn handed out money to unidentified Kremlin operatives who sullied Mr. Trump and associates.

As Mr. Steele churned out dossier chapters during the summer campaign, Mr. Simpson peddled them to Washington’s mightiest journalists.

Mr. Steele wrote in July, the month he briefed the FBI and it began its probe, of an “extensive conspiracy between Trump’s campaign team and the Kremlin.”

After the BuzzFeed posting, The New York Times outed the dossier duo of Fusion and Mr. Steele.

Democrats began to cite the dossier’s unconfirmed Trump charges at hearings and on TV.

As the charges remained unconfirmed into the spring, Republicans started focusing attention on a firm whose livelihood relies on a cloak of confidentiality.

Republicans, including Mr. Nunes and Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley of Iowa have been conducting investigations into how the dossier influenced the FBI to start one of the most important criminal investigations in U.S. history.

As Fusion fends off pursuers and gets ensnared in libel lawsuits against Mr. Steele and BuzzFeed, its costs are mounting.

Three Russian businessmen-bankers are suing Fusion for libel, creating a second legal front. Fusion is paying at least two law firms to fend off Mr. Nunes’ incursion in U.S. District Court.

“They’re under the weather because of their legal bills,” the journalist source said.

Part of Fusion’s defense is that it enjoys First Amendment rights just like its founders’ days at The Wall Street Journal.

Fusion jealously guards the list of its journalistic recipients and, in turn, is treated as a confidential source to the point that there are rarely Simpson fingerprints on its investigative products.

But the dossier’s disclosure broke the code of silence. In one of three libel lawsuits, Mr. Steele has been forced to explain how he and Fusion worked together.

In a court filing in London, he named names: In Washington in September, Mr. Steele met with The New York Times, The Washington Post, Yahoo News, The New Yorker and CNN — a who’s who of America’s liberal media establishment.

The next month, Mr. Steele said, he delivered a second briefing to The New York Times, The Washington Post and Yahoo News.

Before Mr. Steele’s D.C. visit, Fusion turned to old colleagues at The Wall Street Journal. In July, a reporter contacted Carter Page, a Trump campaign volunteer. Mr. Steele had spun a web of deceit and lawbreaking by Mr. Page on a trip he took to Moscow to deliver a public speech at a university.

The call blindsided Mr. Page, a New York energy investor who had no idea a dossier time bomb lay ready to destroy his life. The call also showed that Fusion can summon the top of Washington’s journalism food chain to run down its tips.

The Wall Street Journal did not run a story at that time. Mr. Page, who lived in Moscow in the 2000s and knows scores of Russians, said the dossier sections on him are fabrications.

Mr. Steele said he warned journalists that they must confirm his intelligence before reporting. Mr. Steele “understood that the information provided might be used for the purpose of further research, but would not be published or attributed,” his attorneys said.

Two journalists did write stories.

Yahoo News’ Michael Isikoff wrote of the charges against Mr. Page, attributing them not to the dossier but to a Western intelligence source. The story blazed across the internet and became red meat for Clinton campaign surrogates.

Mr. Page has filed a libel lawsuit against Yahoo News.

On Oct. 31, 2016, a second dossier story appeared, this one by David Corn in the left-leaning magazine Mother Jones. He is also a co-author with Mr. Isikoff of “Hubris,” a book on the Iraq War that is critical of former President George W. Bush.

Mr. Corn conducted perhaps the only published interview with Mr. Steele during the election campaign, though he hid the ex-spy’s identity as a “former senior intelligence officer.” The story refers to Fusion but not by name.

Mr. Steele’s quotes conveyed an energized source as he bragged about his ability to get the FBI to accept his memos beginning in early July and then starting an investigation into the Trump campaign.

The FBI has refused to publicly answer dossier questions. The Mother Jones story is among the best-known evidence that the bureau began investigating the Trump campaign based on a Democratic Party-financed scandal sheet that remains unconfirmed.

Epstein-Trump

In January 2016, as candidate Trump scrambled to stitch together a presidential campaign against 16 Republican opponents, Vice.com ran a story on his ties to Epstein, the billionaire sex offender who owns a Caribbean island called Little St. James.

Reporters have confirmed Mr. Clinton’s visits to the island aboard Epstein’s “Lolita Expres,” based on court records.

Mr. Trump’s ties to the fellow Florida billionaire appear to be more social — some dinner parties, two plane trips, and hanging out at Mr. Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Florida.

A woman filed a lawsuit saying Mr. Trump raped her when she was a teenage acquaintance of Epstein’s. “Jane Doe” dropped her lawsuit a few days before the election. Mr. Trump’s people vigorously denied the whole scenario.

Mr. Silverstein, who wrote the Vice.Com story, was asked by The Washington Times if Fusion pushed the Epstein-Trump story.

“Since you asked, yes, they helped me with that,” Mr. Silverstein said. “But as you can see, I could not make a strong case for Trump being super close to Epstein, so they could hardly have been thrilled with that story. [In my humble opinion], that was the best story written about Trump’s ties to Epstein, but I failed to nail him. Trump’s ties were mild compared to Bill Clinton‘s.

“I said Fusion could not have been happy with the Epstein story,” he added. “What I mean is that I never proved a really sleazy connection, so frankly I was disappointed too, I thought there was more (and still wonder). But Fusionnever pressured me to write anything untrue, and they never told me anything about ties between DT and JE that was false. That’s important. Their work has been solid if not 100 percent accurate in their reports, just as I periodically make mistakes. I have never seen malice or anything less than the best effort to be accurate.”

The fact-checking system also applies to the dossier.

“I don’t think anyone really nailed them because I don’t think they did anything wrong,” Mr. Silverstein said. “I think they were chasing money like all these firms do. Maybe they were chasing too hard. But I haven’t seen them breaking the law. … The reporters have to vet it and verify it. … A private intelligence firm working for a private client, you can’t assume you are getting something that is 100 percent accurate.”

Mr. Silverstein takes delight in taking the left and right to task.

In a Dec. 8 story in WashingtonBablyon.com, he wrote of the latest CNN goof: “Well, well, well. A central ‘fact’ of the whole RussiaTrump collusion story turns out to be fake news. The original ‘fact’ was reported by CNN, President Donald Trump’s favorite Fake News Network, so Trump is going to be popping corks on champagne bottles this weekend. Nice job, CNN!”

Romney and VanderSloot

Until the dossier’s splash, Fusion’s secrecy tradecraft was nearly watertight. Its sparse web home page is mostly white space around a two-paragraph mission statement and an “info” email address.

But a few leaks have happened, such as its investigations — some would say hit jobs — of big donors to Republican Mitt Romney in his 2012 bid to unseat President Obama.

The Obama campaign listed eight megadonors as bad people. One of them, Idaho businessman Frank VanderSloot, donated $1 million to a pro-Romney PAC.

The Wall Street Journal editorial page reported during the election that someone was rummaging through Mr. VanderSloot’s divorce files. The paper traced the operative to Fusion GPS. Mr. Simpson defended the dirt-gathering on grounds that Mr. VanderSloot’s wife contributed to a campaign against same-sex marriage.

Then there is Fusion’s own Russia connection. While Fusion is exposing supposed collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia, its operatives have been working for Russians to dishonor Bill Browder, a prominent opponent of President Vladimir Putin.

The web of connections is complex: Russian money is funding Fusion to destroy the reputation of Mr. Browder, a U.S.-British banker, for his work to persuade Congress to enact the 2012 Magnitsky Act. The act is a sanctions law against Moscow, and the Putin regime wants it repealed. Mr. Browder told the Senate Judiciary Committee that Fusionreceived Russian money via the law firm BakerHostetler to launch “a smear campaign against me.”

In another case, Fusion allowed Planned Parenthood to identify it as the firm that analyzed hours of secret video taken by the pro-life group Center for Medical Progress. The group said it captured Planned Parenthood leaders talking about selling fetal body parts.

Fusion issued a report saying the videos were not accurate. The pro-life group’s own analysis showed no manipulation.

The irony in all this is that Mr. Simpson once condemned smutty opposition research as a scourge on the body politic.

He co-wrote a 1996 book, “Dirty Little Secrets: The Persistence of Corruption in American Politics,” with celebrity University of Virginia politics professor Larry J. Sabato.

“Most opposition researchers claim to pay attention mostly to legislative votes and floor statements to see if their opponent’s words jibe with his or her record,” Mr. Simpson and Mr. Sabato said in quotes unearthed by RealClear Investigations. “Without question, many abide strictly by this unwritten code. Yet many of their brethren also examine highly personal information, with the result that issues often surface that are only marginally related, or even completely unrelated, to the office being contested.”

In an interview with C-SPAN’s Brian Lamb, Mr. Simpson bemoaned the use of “push polls” to spread unfounded rumors about candidates.

The “highly personal information” Mr. Simpson condemned 21 years ago certainly can be found in the salacious Trump dossier or his promotion of a Trump-Epstein alliance.

Mr. Simpson and Fusion did not reply to messages.

In a sense, the dossier was a failure in that Mr. Simpson could not persuade a large number of reporters to spread its smut during the election campaign. The dossier’s 35 pages ultimately subjected Fusion to an unwanted limelight, a congressional investigation and steep legal fees.

In January, The New York Times described the failure to confirm the dossier’s charges before Nov. 8.

Fusion GPS and Mr. Steele shared the memos first with their clients, and later with the FBI and multiple journalists at The New York Times and elsewhere. … Many reporters from multiple news organizations tried to verify the claims in the memos but were unsuccessful.”

But in another sense, the dossier — with all its unproven and far-fetched tales — has been a political success for Trump haters.

It influenced the FBI to launch a counterintelligence investigation into the Trump campaign that has grown into a full-blown special counsel inquiry with nearly 20 prosecutors and scores of FBI agents.

The dossier created thousands of social media devotees who are convinced its felony charges against the president and his aides are true.

Back in London, Mr. Steele can take pleasure in a special counsel investigation that could dog the Trump White House, the president, and current and former aides for months, maybe years.

Read More: https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2017/dec/10/glenn-simpsons-fusion-gps-ran-donald-trump-smear-c/

 

Clinton Flew on Lolita Express 26 times, ditched his Secret Service detail
EXCLUSIVE: Bill Clinton Still Silent About Flights On Pedophile’s Sex Plane

Former President Bill Clinton continues to remain silent about the 26 flights he took aboard convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein’s private jet, dubbed the “Lolita Express,” which reportedly offered underage girls to passengers to rape.

Fox News wrote in 2016 that the Lolita Express, a Boeing 727 jet, was “reportedly outfitted with a bed where passengers had group sex with young girls.”

Clinton flew on some trips where the flight logs showed only the first names of female passengers.

The Daily Caller News Foundation contacted the Clinton Presidential Library last week to obtain information about the former president’s relationship with billionaire Epstein, who in 2008 was convicted of soliciting sex from underage girls as young as 14.

At the time of the request, the Clinton Presidential Library was preparing to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Clinton’s 1992 presidential win. It was attended by a small army of Clinton loyalists.

TheDCNF contacted the media office for Bill Clinton, but it refused to respond to a variety of questions about Clinton, his trips and his friendship with Epstein.

Between 2001 to 2003, Clinton and Epstein traveled together on extended trips around the world, according to flight records released in 2015 by Gawker.

Accompanying Clinton aboard the private jet was Doug Band, his “body man” and president of Teneo Holdings, a company that arranged speaking engagements and lucrative business deals for the former president.

On one trip Clinton also traveled with actor Kevin Spacey, who is now accused of have sex with an underage boy.

Clinton traveled aboard the “Lolita Express” with a soft core porn actress and traveled on 11 flights with Epstein’s assistant Sarah Kellen, who allegedly procured underage girls for men, according to Gawker.

Gawker reported Kellam was “accused in court filings of acting as pimps for him (Epstein), recruiting and grooming young girls into their network of child sex workers, and frequently participating in sex acts with them.”

“In January 2002, for instance, Clinton, his aide Doug Band, and Clinton’s Secret Service detail are listed on a flight from Japan to Hong Kong with Epstein, Maxwell, Kellen, and two women described only as “Janice” and “Jessica,” Gawker reported.

Clinton ditched his Secret Service agents on five of the flights, according to Fox News.

Epstein also sent his friends to his personal, 72-acre island called “Orgy Island” on Little St. James in the U.S. Virgin Islands. A team of traffickers allegedly solicited girls as young as 12 to service Epstein’s “friends,” according to Gawker. It is unknown if Clinton ever visited the island.

Judicial Watch, a conservative watchdog group, filed a Freedom of Information Act request in 2015 before the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to obtain records of all Secret Service expenses incurred to provide “security and or/other services” to former President Bill Clinton during his trips with Epstein.

Michael Bekesha, a Judicial Watch attorney told TheDCNF the DHS never produced any records.

TheDCNF request about Clinton and Epstein occurred as hundreds of loyal Clinton aides, campaign workers and former White House officials converged onto the Presidential Library to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the President’s first win to the White House.

While the conference convened amid a swirl of sexual assault accusations against prominent men in politics, industry and in Hollywood, none of it was raised at the 25th anniversary programs.

James Carville, Clinton’s irreverent former campaign manager from his 1992 presidential run moderated a lengthy and “safe” interview with Bill and Hillary Clinton at the library.

Instead, the conference addressed the environment, education policy, childhood development, strife in the Balkans and even, the Human Genome Project.

Women who previously reported sexual assaults by Clinton told TheDCNF the silence from the Clinton camp over the Epstein flights did not surprise them.

“Well he’s guilty, and he knows he’s guilty. So, he’s not going to comment on anything,” said Kathleen Willey, who claims Clinton sexually assaulted her while she worked at the White House. She worked in the White House counsel’s office and in the office of the White House social secretary.

“Have we ever heard a word from him since all of this came up? I mean this has been going on since his college days,” Willey said.

As for his flights aboard the Epstein jet, Willey said, “Well, I don’t think Bill Clinton was playing checkers there. I think it’s despicable, it’s disgusting. He was there for a reason. It’s called pedophilia. Most of those girls were underage.”

Juanita Broaddrick, who says Clinton raped her in a hotel room in 1978 when he was state attorney general, told TheDCNF, “Well I don’t see how they could speak about it now after they’ve lied about it for two decades and harassed and trashed us. I don’t see how they personally can come back and say anything.”

Broaddrick said during the assault Clinton bit her lip so hard it started bleeding. “You better put some ice on that,” she remembers him telling her as he walked out the door.

“I cannot imagine how and in what manner they could ever say the names: Paula Jones, Kathleen Willey or Juanita Broaddrick. I don’t think that will ever come out of their mouths,” Broaddrick told TheDCNF.

She also was not surprised the sex scandal did not come up at the Clinton conference this weekend.

“I don’t think they’ll ever go there and admit to anything that Bill Clinton did. I personally don’t think they have the guts to do it,” she said.

After federal prosecutors identified at least 35 young girls who were solicited by Epstein, the U.S. government elected to have Florida state, not federal charges leveled against him.

He was given a sweetheart deal of 13 months of an 18 month sentence in the Palm Beach County Stockade. He was only charged with one count of soliciting an underage girl.

The punishment was so light Epstein was allowed to leave each day to go to work as a power broker in the financial field.

He also is listed as a registered sex offender and had to make financial restitution to about 30 girls.

Epstein now spends most of his time on his island estate in the U.S. Virgin Islands, according to the Palm Beach Post.

For Broaddrick, the memories of Clinton’s assault are still vivid. “I still cry, I still have that pain. It never goes away,” she told TheDCNF.

Read More: http://dailycaller.com/2017/11/19/exclusive-bill-clinton-still-silent-about-flights-on-pedophiles-sex-plane/

Making Fake News: The U.S. Media Suffered Its Most Humiliating Debacle in Ages

Now Refuses All Transparency Over What Happened

Trust Me

FRIDAY WAS ONE of the most embarrassing days for the U.S. media in quite a long time. The humiliation orgy was kicked off by CNN, with MSNBC and CBS close behind, and countless pundits, commentators, and operatives joining the party throughout the day. By the end of the day, it was clear that several of the nation’s largest and most influential news outlets had spread an explosive but completely false news story to millions of people, while refusing to provide any explanation of how it happened.

The spectacle began Friday morning at 11 a.m. EST, when the Most Trusted Name in News™ spent 12 straight minutes on air flamboyantly hyping an exclusive bombshell report that seemed to prove that WikiLeaks, last September, had secretly offered the Trump campaign, even Donald Trump himself, special access to the Democratic National Committee emails before they were published on the internet. As CNN sees the world, this would prove collusion between the Trump family and WikiLeaks and, more importantly, between Trump and Russia, since the U.S. intelligence community regards WikiLeaks as an “arm of Russian intelligence,” and therefore, so does the U.S. media.

This entire revelation was based on an email that CNN strongly implied it had exclusively obtained and had in its possession. The email was sent by someone named “Michael J. Erickson” — someone nobody had heard of previously and whom CNN could not identify — to Donald Trump Jr., offering a decryption key and access to DNC emails that WikiLeaks had “uploaded.” The email was a smoking gun, in CNN’s extremely excited mind, because it was dated September 4 — 10 days before WikiLeaks began promoting access to those emails online — and thus proved that the Trump family was being offered special, unique access to the DNC archive: likely by WikiLeaks and the Kremlin.

It’s impossible to convey with words what a spectacularly devastating scoop CNN believed it had, so it’s necessary to watch it for yourself to see the tone of excitement, breathlessness, and gravity the network conveyed as they clearly believed they were delivering a near-fatal blow on the Trump-Russia collusion story:

There was just one small problem with this story: It was fundamentally false, in the most embarrassing way possible. Hours after CNN broadcast its story — and then hyped it over and over and over — the Washington Post reported that CNN got the key fact of the story wrong.

The email was not dated September 4, as CNN claimed, but rather September 14 — which means it was sent after WikiLeaks had already published access to the DNC emails online. Thus, rather than offering some sort of special access to Trump, “Michael J. Erickson” was simply some random person from the public encouraging the Trump family to look at the publicly available DNC emails that WikiLeaks — as everyone by then already knew — had publicly promoted. In other words, the email was the exact opposite of what CNN presented it as being.

How did CNN end up aggressively hyping such a spectacularly false story? They refuse to say. Many hours after their story got exposed as false, the journalist who originally presented it, congressional reporter Manu Raju, finally posted a tweet noting the correction. CNN’s P.R. department then claimed that “multiple sources” had provided CNN with the false date. And Raju went on CNN, in muted tones, to note the correction, explicitly claiming that “two sources” had each given him the false date on the email, while also making clear that CNN did not ever even see the email, but only had sources describe its purported contents:

All of this prompts the glaring, obvious, and critical question — one that CNN refuses to address: How did “multiple sources” all misread the date on this document, in exactly the same way and toward the same end, and then feed this false information to CNN?

It is, of course, completely plausible that one source might innocently misread a date on a document. But how is it remotely plausible that multiple sources could all innocently and in good faith misread the date in exactly the same way, all to cause the dissemination of a blockbuster revelation about Trump-Russia-WikiLeaks collusion? This is the critical question that CNN simply refuses to answer. In other words, CNN refuses to provide the most minimal transparency to enable the public to understand what happened here.

WHY DOES THIS matter so much? For so many significant reasons:

To begin with, it’s hard to overstate how fast, far, and wide this false story traveled. Democratic Party pundits, operatives, and journalists with huge social media platforms predictably jumped on the story immediately, announcing that it proved collusion between Trump and Russia (through WikiLeaks). One tweet from Democratic Rep. Ted Lieu, claiming that this proved evidence of criminal collusion, was retweeted thousands and thousands of times in just a few hours (Lieu quietly deleted the tweet after I noted its falsity, and long after it went very viral, without ever telling his followers that the CNN story, and therefore his accusation, had been debunked).

This tweet is from a member of Congress today. It was RT’d more than 7,000 times (and counting), and liked more than 15,000 times. It’s based on a completely false claim, from a debunked CNN story. This happens over and over. This seems damaging. And still no retraction. https://twitter.com/tedlieu/status/939129798793793536 

Brookings Institution’s Benjamin Wittes, whose star has risen as he has promoted himself as a friend of former FBI Director Jim Comey, not only promoted the CNN story in the morning, but did so with the word “boom” — which he uses to signal that a major blow has been delivered to Trump on the Russia story — along with a GIF of a cannon being detonated:

Incredibly, to this very moment — almost 24 hours after CNN’s story was debunked — Wittes has never noted to his more than 200,000 followers that the story he so excitedly promoted turned out to be utterly false, even though he returned to Twitter long after the story was debunked to tweet about other matters. He just left his false and inflammatory claims uncorrected.

Talking Points Memo’s Josh Marshall believed the story was so significant that he used an image of an atomic bomb detonating at the top of his article discussing its implications, an article he tweeted to his roughly 250,000 followers. Only at night was an editor’s note finally added noting that the whole thing was false.

 

It’s hard to quantify exactly how many people were deceived — filled with false news and propaganda — by the CNN story. But thanks to Democratic-loyal journalists and operatives who decree every Trump-Russia claim to be true without seeing any evidence, it’s certainly safe to say that many hundreds of thousands of people, almost certainly millions, were exposed to these false claims.

Surely anyone who has any minimal concerns about journalistic accuracy — which would presumably include all the people who have spent the last year lamenting Fake News, propaganda, Twitter bots, and the like — would demand an accounting as to how a major U.S. media outlet ended up filling so many people’s brains with totally false news. That alone should prompt demands from CNN for an explanation about what happened here. No Russian Facebook ad or Twitter bot could possibly have anywhere near the impact as this CNN story had when it comes to deceiving people with blatantly inaccurate information.

Second, the “multiple sources” who fed CNN this false information did not confine themselves to that network. They were apparently very busy eagerly spreading the false information to as many media outlets as they could find. In the middle of the day, CBS News claimed that it had independently “confirmed” CNN’s story about the email and published its own breathless article discussing the grave implications of this discovered collusion.

Most embarrassing of all was what MSNBC did. You just have to watch this report from its “intelligence and national security correspondent” Ken Dilanian to believe it. Like CBS, Dilanian also claimed that he had independently “confirmed” the false CNN report from “two sources with direct knowledge of this.” Dilanian, whose career in the U.S. media continues to flourish the more he is exposed as someone who faithfully parrots what the CIA tells him to say (since that is one of the most coveted and valued attributes in U.S. journalism), spent three minutes mixing evidence-free CIA claims as fact with totally false assertions about what his multiple “sources with direct knowledge” told him about all this. Please watch this — again, not just the content but the tenor and tone of how they “report” — as it is Baghdad Bob-level embarrassing:

Think about what this means. It means that at least two — and possibly more — sources, which these media outlets all assessed as credible in terms of having access to sensitive information, all fed the same false information to multiple news outlets at the same time. For multiple reasons, the probability is very high that these sources were Democratic members of the House Intelligence Committee (or their high-level staff members), which is the committee that obtained access to Trump Jr.’s emails, although it’s certainly possible that it’s someone else. We won’t know until these news outlets deign to report this crucial information to the public: Which “multiple sources” acted jointly to disseminate incredibly inflammatory, false information to the nation’s largest news outlets?

 

Just last week, the Washington Post decided — to great applause (including mine) — to expose a source to whom they had promised anonymity and off-the-record protections because they discovered that she was purposely feeding them false information as part of a scheme by Project Veritas to discredit the Post. It’s a well-established principle of journalism — one that is rarely followed when it comes to powerful people in D.C. — that journalists should expose, rather than protect and conceal, sources who purposely feed them false information to be disseminated to the public.

The Post made the right call to report off-the-record comments given they were offered with fraudulent intent. This should be done far more often to actually powerful-in-DC people who spread lies while hiding behind anonymity https://www.washingtonpost.com/investigations/a-woman-approached-the-post-with-dramatic–and-false–tale-about-roy-moore-sje-appears-to-be-part-of-undercover-sting-operation/2017/11/27/0c2e335a-cfb6-11e7-9d3a-bcbe2af58c3a_story.html?utm_term=.b6e35306506c 

Is that what happened here? Did these “multiple sources” who fed not just CNN, but also MSNBC and CBS completely false information do so deliberately and in bad faith? Until these news outlets provide an accounting of what happened — what one might call “minimal journalistic transparency” — it’s impossible to say for certain. But right now, it’s very difficult to imagine a scenario in which multiple sources all fed the wrong date to multiple media outlets innocently and in good faith.

If this were, in fact, a deliberate attempt to cause a false and highly inflammatory story to be reported, then these media outlets have an obligation to expose who the culprits are — just as the Washington Post did last week to the woman making false claims about Roy Moore (it was much easier in that case because the source they exposed was a nobody in D.C., rather than someone on whom they rely for a steady stream of stories, the way CNN and MSNBC rely on Democratic members of the Intelligence Committee). By contrast, if this were just an innocent mistake, then these media outlets should explain how such an implausible sequence of events could possibly have happened.

Thus far, these media corporations are doing the opposite of what journalists ought to do: Rather than informing the public about what happened and providing minimal transparency and accountability for themselves and the high-level officials who caused this to happen, they are hiding behind meaningless, obfuscating statements crafted by P.R. executives and lawyers.

How can journalists and news outlets so flamboyantly act offended when they’re attacked as being “Fake News” when this is the conduct behind which they hide when they get caught disseminating incredibly consequential false stories?

THE MORE SERIOUS you think the Trump-Russia story is, the more dangerous you think it is when Trump attacks the U.S. media as “Fake News,” the more you should be disturbed by what happened here, the more transparency and accountability you should be demanding. If you’re someone who thinks Trump’s attacks on the media are dangerous, then you should be first in line objecting when they act recklessly and demand transparency and accountability from them. It is debacles like this — and the subsequent corporate efforts to obfuscate — that have made the U.S. media so disliked and that fuel and empower Trump’s attacks on them.

Third, this type of recklessness and falsity is now a clear and highly disturbing trend — one could say a constant — when it comes to reporting on Trump, Russia, and WikiLeaks. I have spent a good part of the last year documenting the extraordinarily numerous, consequential, and reckless stories that have been published — and then corrected, rescinded, and retracted — by major media outlets when it comes to this story.

All media outlets, of course, will make mistakes. The Intercept certainly has made our share, as have all outlets. And it’s particularly natural, inevitable, for mistakes to be made on a highly complicated, opaque story like the question of the relationship between Trump and the Russians, and questions relating to how WikiLeaks obtained the DNC and Podesta emails. That is all to be expected.

But what one should expect with journalistic “mistakes” is that they sometimes go in one direction and other times go in the other direction. That’s exactly what has not happened here. Virtually every false story published goes only in one direction: to be as inflammatory and damaging as possible on the Trump-Russia story and about Russia particularly. At some point, once “mistakes” all start going in the same direction, toward advancing the same agenda, they cease looking like mistakes.

No matter your views on those political controversies, no matter how much you hate Trump or regard Russia as a grave villain and threat to our cherished democracy and freedoms, it has to be acknowledged that when the U.S. media is spewing constant false news about all of this, that, too, is a grave threat to our democracy and cherished freedom.

So numerous are the false stories about Russia and Trump over the last year that I literally cannot list them all. Just consider the ones from the last week alone, as enumerated by the New York Times yesterday in its news report on CNN’s embarrassment:

It was also yet another prominent reporting error at a time when news organizations are confronting a skeptical public, and a president who delights in attacking the media as “fake news.”

Last Saturday, ABC News suspended a star reporter, Brian Ross, after an inaccurate report that Donald Trump had instructed Michael T. Flynn, the former national security adviser, to contact Russian officials during the presidential race.

The report fueled theories about coordination between the Trump campaign and a foreign power, and stocks dropped after the news. In fact, Mr. Trump’s instruction to Mr. Flynn came after he was president-elect.

Several news outlets, including Bloomberg and The Wall Street Journal, also inaccurately reported this week that Deutsche Bank had received a subpoena from the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, for President Trump’s financial records.

The president and his circle have not been shy about pointing out the errors.

That’s just the last week alone. Let’s just remind ourselves of how many times major media outlets have made humiliating, breathtaking errors on the Trump-Russia story, always in the same direction, toward the same political goals. Here is just a sample of incredibly inflammatory claims that traveled all over the internet before having to be corrected, walked back, or retracted — often long after the initial false claims spread, and where the corrections receive only a tiny fraction of the attention with which the initial false stories are lavished:

  • Russia hacked into the U.S. electric grid to deprive Americans of heat during winter (Wash Post)
  • An anonymous group (PropOrNot) documented how major U.S. political sites are Kremlin agents (Wash Post)
  • WikiLeaks has a long, documented relationship with Putin (Guardian)
  • A secret server between Trump and a Russian bank has been discovered (Slate)
  • RT hacked C-SPAN and caused disruption in its broadcast (Fortune)
  • Russians hacked into a Ukrainian artillery app (Crowdstrike)
  • Russians attempted to hack elections systems in 21 states (multiple news outlets, echoing Homeland Security)
  • Links have been found between Trump ally Anthony Scaramucci and a Russian investment fund under investigation (CNN)

That really is just a small sample. So continually awful and misleading has this reporting been that even Vladimir Putin’s most devoted critics — such as Russian expatriate Masha Gessenoppositional Russian journalists, and anti-Kremlin liberal activists in Moscow — are constantly warning that the U.S. media’s unhinged, ignorant, paranoid reporting on Russia is harming their cause in all sorts of ways, in the process destroying the credibility of the U.S. media in the eyes of Putin’s opposition (who — unlike Americans who have been fed a steady news and entertainment propaganda diet for decades about Russia — actually understand the realities of that country).

U.S. media outlets are very good at demanding respect. They love to imply, if not outright state, that being patriotic and a good American means that one must reject efforts to discredit them and their reporting because that’s how one defends press freedom.

But journalists also have the responsibility not just to demand respect and credibility but to earn it. That means that there shouldn’t be such a long list of abject humiliations, in which completely false stories are published to plaudits, traffic, and other rewards, only to fall apart upon minimal scrutiny. It certainly means that all of these “errors” shouldn’t be pointing in the same direction, pushing the same political outcome or journalistic conclusion.

But what it means most of all is that when media outlets are responsible for such grave and consequential errors as the spectacle we witnessed yesterday, they have to take responsibility for it by offering transparency and accountability. In this case, that can’t mean hiding behind P.R. and lawyer silence and waiting for this to just all blow away.

At minimum, these networks — CNN, MSNBC, and CBS — have to either identify who purposely fed them this blatantly false information or explain how it’s possible that “multiple sources” all got the same information wrong in innocence and good faith. Until they do that, their cries and protests the next time they’re attacked as “Fake News” should fall on deaf ears, since the real author of those attacks — the reason those attacks resonate — is themselves and their own conduct.

Update: Dec. 9, 2017
Hours after this article was published on Saturday — a full day and a half after his original tweets promoting the false CNN story with a “boom” and a cannon — Benjamin Wittes finally got around to noting that the CNN story he hyped has “serious problems”; needless to say, that acknowledgment received a fraction of retweets from his followers as his original tweets hyping the story attracted.

Attack on RT Is Another Step Towards Sovietization of American Media

This week the US Department of Justice Criminal Division forced the Russian-funded television network RT (formerly Russia Today) to register as a “foreign agent” under the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA). Failure to comply would have risked arrest of RT’s management and seizure of its assets. The move comes on the heels of Senators’ recent demands that terrified tech giants Twitter, Facebook, and Google act as ideological filters.

With no discernable defenders among America’s media establishment, RT rightly denounced the selective FARA mandate as an attack on media freedom – which it is. But more ominous is what the move against RT says about America’s rulers’ further intention to limit the sources of information available to its subjects.

As Daniel McAdams of the Ron Paul Institute writes:

“RT America is a news organization operating in the United States that is funded at least partly by a foreign government. So is the BBC. So is Deutsche Welle, France24, Al-Jazeera, and numerous other foreign media organizations. It is assumed that they all to a degree reflect the editorial interests of those who pay the bills.

“The same is true with other, non-state funded media outlets, of course. It’s up to us to factor these things in when we consume media. That’s what it means to be a free people.

“A core value in a free society is that our own government has zero power over what we read, what we watch, how we think, how we come to interpret current events, the conclusions we draw based on these inputs, and so on. These are private matters over which any government that is not tyrannical should have no sway.

“The real insidiousness of tyrannical systems is that the government most lasciviously seeks control over most private spaces — including the most private space called our brain, our intellect, our conscience. We must be free to follow our interests down whatever path they may lead us so that we may reach our own conclusions and then perhaps test them ourselves in the marketplace of ideas.”

The attack on RT (and another Russian network, Sputnik, which evidently has not yet been given a deadline for registration) is a milestone in the degeneration of the American official (call them what you want – corporate, legacy, mainstream) media into PR agencies for the governing establishment and its ideological imperatives. We’ve been moving along this path for a while now, and it’s going to get worse.

Long gone are those halcyon days of yore when Americans could just sit back and watch CBS’s Walter Cronkite with total confidence they were getting the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. (For youngsters who have no idea who the hell Cronkite was, just Google “most trusted man in America.”) Back in the naïve infancy of the TV age, from about the 1950s until the beginning of the 1990s, there was a common national media culture that reflected the established, generally liberal, mainly Democratic tilt of the American inteligentsiya that was almost uniform among the (then only) three networks and a handful of major newspapers and magazines. To be sure, that was also a ruling class media of a sort, but it reflected a broad and deep social consensus.

Those days are no more. Perhaps the unraveling of media trust and social consensus alike started in earnest with Vietnam. But still, for decades afterwards there still seemed to be plenty of empty cranial receptacles for government and corporate propaganda of the first Gulf War under Bush 41, Bill Clinton’s phony humanitarian wars in the Balkans, Bush 43’s Iraq War, and Obama’s Libyan and Syrian imbroglios. Sadly, there are many such cranial receptacles even today.

By its attack on RT, the US government is officially telling us that only the mainstream media (MSM) can be regarded as are purveyors of Truth (with a capital T) and that anybody not on the approved list is fake. How do we know? Why, the MSM themselves tell us! The Washington Post’s “Democracy Dies in Darkness.” CNN’s “Facts First.” The New York Times’ “The Truth is Hard.” (The fact that certifiably authoritative and truthful media are militantly hostile to Russia, not to mention to Donald Trump, is purely coincidental.)

A lot of Americans don’t buy it anymore, though. Some of the skepticism falls along purely partisan lines reflecting increasing moral and political polarization: our media (which I exclusively consult) tells the truth, but your media (which I don’t consult) are liars. About one-third of Americans get their talking points from, say, Michael Moore, and from Rachel Maddow on MSNBC, with their related internet echoes, while another third gets theirs from Rush Limbaugh, and from Sean Hannity on Fox News, and their internet echo chambers. Increasingly, there is nothing like a national dialogue on anything, but rather two entirely separate, diametrically opposed ideological cultures – and alternate realities – each demonizing “them.” This is why when after Barack Obama’s election the Tea Party appeared, the GOP fell over itself trying to co-opt them, while the Democrats denounced them as a mob of racists and subversives. When later the “Occupy” and Black Lives Matter movements broke out on the Left, the Democrats tried to figure out how to channel it while top Republicans denounced it as gang of commie anarchists and losers.

With the election of Donald Trump the divide intensified further to one of latent civil war.

At some point the false picture of pseudo-reality (as Alain Besançon called it in the late Soviet propaganda context) diverges so far from real reality that the official media narrative becomes useless and even counterproductive. While a majority of Americans probably are still glued to the partisan outlets of “their” side of the political divide, there is a growing sense across the spectrum that not only the MSM but even partisan media like Fox News and MSNBC are untrustworthy.

In the past, notably in the totalitarian societies of the 20th century, maintaining the credibility of official media required the physical repression of alternatives. Today, such a crude approach is unnecessary and almost technologically unfeasible, even for such undemocratic countries as Iran, Cuba, and Saudi Arabia (though North Korea may be successful through the sheer unavailability of modern communications technology to most of the population). Instead of suppressing dissent, is it sufficient to maintain major media’s role as gatekeeper and certifier of reliability.

Which brings us back to the impact of foreign media like RT, Sputnik, Strategic Culture Foundation, Al-Jazeera, CGTN, Press TV, often in parallel with alternative media like Zero Hedge, Lew Rockwell, Antiwar.com, Ron Paul Institute, and others, to break through the information firewall but arguably then being influenced by the agenda of the sponsoring foreign governments. In any case, a growing segment of the American public is discovering a skill once well-honed by the citizens of the former communist countries: reading between the lines of the official media (which is assumed to be full of lies) and making informed comparisons to samizdat alternative media, foreign sources, and the rumor-mill to guess what the truth might be.

Make no mistake – what has started with RT won’t end with RT. Our betters have decided they need to protect our minds from “propaganda” penetration that might cause us to doubt the truth of what CNN and the Washington Post tell us.

Citizens! Be grateful for such wise leaders and dedicated information workers! Smash the enemy voices that seek to undermine our democracy as we march boldly into the radiant future!

Read More: https://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2017/11/18/attack-rt-another-step-towards-sovietization-american-media.html

The Great Retirement Con

This is where government solutions get us. P.D.
no retirement for you!
The Origins Of The Retirement Plan

Back during the Revolutionary War, the Continental Congress promised a monthly lifetime income to soldiers who fought and survived the conflict. This guaranteed income stream, called a “pension”, was again offered to soldiers in the Civil War and every American war since.

Since then, similar pension promises funded from public coffers expanded to cover retirees from other branches of government. States and cities followed suit — extending pensions to all sorts of municipal workers ranging from policemen to politicians, teachers to trash collectors.

A pension is what’s referred to as a defined benefit plan. The payout promised a worker upon retirement is guaranteed up front according to a formula, typically dependent on salary size and years of employment.

Understandably, workers appreciated the security and dependability offered by pensions. So, as a means to attract skilled talent, the private sector started offering them, too.

The first corporate pension was offered by the American Express Company in 1875. By the 1960s, half of all employees in the private sector were covered by a pension plan.

Off-loading Of Retirement Risk By Corporations

Once pensions had become commonplace, they were much less effective as an incentive to lure top talent. They started to feel like burdensome cost centers to companies.

As America’s corporations grew and their veteran employees started hitting retirement age, the amount of funding required to meet current and future pension funding obligations became huge. And it kept growing. Remember, the Baby Boomer generation, the largest ever by far in US history, was just entering the workforce by the 1960s.

Companies were eager to get this expanding liability off of their backs. And the more poorly-capitalized firms started defaulting on their pensions, stiffing those who had loyally worked for them.

So, it’s little surprise that the 1970s and ’80s saw the introduction of personal retirement savings plans. The Individual Retirement Arrangement (IRA) was formed by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) in 1974. And the first 401k plan was created in 1980.

These savings vehicles are defined contribution plans. The future payout of the plan is variable (i.e., unknown today), and will be largely a function of how much of their income the worker directs into the fund over their career, as well as the market return on the fund’s investments.

Touted as a revolutionary improvement for the worker, these plans promised to give the individual power over his/her own financial destiny. No longer would it be dictated by their employer.

Your company doesn’t offer a pension? No worries: open an IRA and create your own personal pension fund.

Afraid your employer might mismanage your pension fund? A 401k removes that risk. You decide how your retirement money is invested.

Want to retire sooner? Just increase the percent of your annual income contributions.

All this sounded pretty good to workers. But it sounded GREAT to their employers.

Why? Because it transferred the burden of retirement funding away from the company and onto its employees. It allowed for the removal of a massive and fast-growing liability off of the corporate balance sheet, and materially improved the outlook for future earnings and cash flow.

As you would expect given this, corporate America moved swiftly over the next several decades to cap pension participation and transition to defined contribution plans.

The table below shows how vigorously pensions (green) have disappeared since the introduction of IRAs and 401ks (red):

(Source)

So, to recap: 40 years ago, a grand experiment was embarked upon. One that promised US workers: Using these new defined contribution vehicles, you’ll be better off when you reach retirement age.

Which raises a simple but very important question: How have things worked out?

The Ugly Aftermath

America The Broke

Well, things haven’t worked out too well.

Three decades later, what we’re realizing is that this shift from dedicated-contribution pension plans to voluntary private savings was a grand experiment with no assurances. Corporations definitely benefited, as they could redeploy capital to expansion or bottom line profits. But employees? The data certainly seems to show that the experiment did not take human nature into account enough – specifically, the fact that just because people have the option to save money for later use doesn’t mean that they actually will.

First off, not every American worker (by far) is offered a 401k or similar retirement plan through work. But of those that are, 21% choose not to participate (source).

As a result, 1 in 4 of those aged 45-64 and 22% of those 65+ have $0 in retirement savings (source). Forty-nine percent of American adults of all ages aren’t saving anything for retirement.

In 2016, the Economic Policy Institute published an excellent chartbook titled The State Of American Retirement (for those inclined to review the full set of charts on their website, it’s well worth the time). The EPI’s main conclusion from their analysis is that the switchover of the US workforce from defined-benefit pension plans to self-directed retirement savings vehicles (e..g, 401Ks and IRAs) has resulted in a sizeable drop in retirement preparedness. Retirement wealth has not grown fast enough to keep pace with our aging population.

The stats illustrated by the EPI’s charts are frightening on a mean, or average, level. For instance, for all workers 32-61, the average amount saved for retirement is less than $100,000. That’s not much to live on in the last decades of your twilight years. And that average savings is actually lower than it was back in 2007, showing that households have still yet to fully recover the wealth lost during the Great Recession.

But mean numbers are skewed by the outliers. In this case, the multi-$million households are bringing up the average pretty dramatically, making things look better than they really are. It’s when we look at the median figures that things get truly scary:

Nearly half of families have no retirement account savings at all. That makes median (50th percentile) values low for all age groups, ranging from $480 for families in their mid-30s to $17,000 for families approaching retirement in 2013. For most age groups, median account balances in 2013 were less than half their pre-recession peak and lower than at the start of the new millennium.

(Source)

The 50th percentile household aged 56-61 has only $17,000 to retire on. That’s dangerously close to the Federal poverty level income for a family of two for just a single year.

Most planners advise saving enough before retirement to maintain annual living expenses at about 70-80% of what they were during one’s income-earning years. Medicare out-of-pocket costs alone are expected to be between $240,000 and $430,000 over retirement for a 65-year-old couple retiring today.

The gap between retirement savings and living costs in one’s later years is pretty staggering:

  • Nearly 83% of retired households have less saved than Medicare costs alone will consume.
  • One-third of retired households are entirely dependent on Social Security. On average, that’s only $1,230 per month – a hard income to live on. (source)
  • 34 percent of older Americans depend on credit cards to pay for basic living expenses such as mortgage payments, groceries, and utilities. (source)

As for Medicare, the out-of-pocket costs could easily soar over retirement. The Wall Street Journal reports that the current estimate of Medicare’s unfunded liability now tops $42 Trillion. Such a mind-boggling gap makes it highly likely that current retirees will not receive all of the entitlements they are being promised.

And the denial being shown by baby boomers entering retirement is frightening. Many simply plan to work longer before retiring, with a growing percentage saying they plan to work “forever”.

But the data shows that declining health gives older Americans no choice but to leave the work force eventually, whether they want to or not. Years of surveys by the Employment Benefit Research Institute show that fully half of current retirees had to leave the work force sooner than desired due to health problems, disability, or layoffs.

Add to this the nefarious impact of the Federal Reserve’s prolonged 0% interest rate policy, which has made it extremely hard for retirees with fixed-income investments to generate a meaningful income from them.

The number of Americans aged 65 years and older is projected to more than double in the next 40 years:

Will the remaining body of active workers be able to support this tsunami of underfunded seniors? Don’t bet on it.

Especially since their retirement savings prospects are even more dim. With long-stagnant real wages and punishing price inflation in the cost of living, Generation X and Millennials are hard-pressed to put money away for their twilight years:

(Source)

Public Pensions: Broken Promises

And for those “lucky” folks expecting to enjoy a public pension, there’s a lot of uncertainty as to whether they’re going to receive all they’ve been promised.

Due to underfunded contributions, years of portfolio under-performance due to the Federal Reserve’s 0% interest rate policy, poor fund management, and other reasons, many of the federal and state pensions are woefully under-captialized. The below chart from former Dallas Fed advisor Danielle DiMartino-Booth shows how the total sum of unfunded public pension obligations exploded from $292 billion in 2007 to $1.9 trillion by the end of 2016:

(Source)

And the daily headlines of failing state and local pension funds (IllinoisKentuckyNew JerseyDallasProvidence — to name but a few) show that the problem is metastasizing across the nation at an accelerating rate.

Affording Your Future

The bottom line when it comes to retirement is that you’re on your own. The vehicles and the promises you’ve been given are proving woefully insufficient to fund the “retirement” dream you’ve been sold your whole life.

That’s the bad news.

But the good news is that the dream is still attainable. There are strategies and behaviors that, if adopted now, will make it much more likely for you to be able to afford to retire — and in a way you can enjoy.

In Part 2: Success Strategies For Retirement, we detail out these best practices for a solvent retirement, including providing 14 specific action steps you can start taking right now in your life that will materially improve your odds of enjoying your later years with grace.

For far too many Americans, “retirement” will remain a perpetual myth. Don’t let that happen to you.

Click here to read Part 2 of this report (free executive summary, enrollment required for full access)

read more: https://www.peakprosperity.com/blog/113449/great-retirement-con

Shadow President: Barack Obama Follows Actual President’s Foreign Visits.

What’s with this un-elected, behind-the-scenes, shadow agenda ? Is this a soft coup by the deep state?

If his agenda was so great we’d have a president Clinton already.

…P.D.

Obama leads the Purple Revolution Agenda Across the Globe

From The Daily Wire:
Just as he did after President Donald Trump’s trip to Europe, former President Barack Obama will make a tour of Asia, weeks after Trump returned from his first official state visit abroad to Japan and China.

The “shadow president,” apparently concerned that his successor will somehow make the results of Obama-era foreign policy worse, will visit China’s president and make an extra stop in India, potentially as a way of countering any Trump-related damage there (First Daughter Ivanka is in India this week promoting educational initiatives for girls).

Per The Hill, Obama is undertaking the trip as part of his “Obama Foundation kickoff tour,” and he’ll spend a few days in Shanghai where he’ll meet with President Xi Jinping before jetting to New Dehli and then to Paris, where he’ll meet with French officials.

The trip is probably not a coincidence. Shortly after Donald Trump made his first trip abroad as president, visiting Italy and France as well as several other nations, Obama just happened to schedule follow up trips where he visited many of the same nations and dined privately with leaders who’d spoken to Trump just days before.

Now, after Trump’s objectively successful trip to Asia, Obama has scheduled his own, and will visit China, where Trump and his family were well received and where the administration was able to smooth over several economic issues, and to India, where Trump’s daughter is making inroads with the populist government.

Although the former president promised to stay out of the limelight, he’s been deeply involved in policy issues designed to counter Donald Trump’s White House initiatives.

Read More: http://www.dailywire.com/news/24040/shadow-president-barack-obama-meet-world-leaders-emily-zanotti

Shadow President?

After leaving the White House in January 2017, Barack Obama and his family set out to do what all newly retired presidents have done—go back home, or find a new one. In Obama’s case, though, the new residence is in Washington, D.C. At first, the Obamas presented their choice as temporary—they wanted to let their younger daughter, Sasha, finish high school in Washington, they said—but their purchase of an 8,200-square-foot, $8 million mansion suggests a permanent stay. Obama’s postpresidency is thus shaping up to be virtually unique in American history: rather than departing Washington, he is planting his flag there, establishing, in effect, a shadow presidency.

Obama’s move breaks with long-standing precedent. Conscious of threats to the safe transfer of executive power in the young republic, America’s early presidents departed Washington on the expiration of their terms. After relinquishing his commission as general following victory over the British, George Washington was compared with Cincinnatus, the retired Roman general who assumed emergency powers, saved Rome, and then returned to his plow. Washington repeated his valiant act when he declined a third term as president—Garry Wills calls him a “virtuoso of resignations”—and set the standard for future executives by going home when his political work was done.

The American ideal of a president is essentially republican: a citizen steps forward to serve the government and returns to private life when his term is up. Washington’s diaries and correspondence of 1797 are consumed with matters of housekeeping, husbandry, and accounts. Mount Vernon had gone to seed, and Washington was forced to shore up his personal finances. Though he stayed abreast of national events and voiced his opinions to his associates, he stayed out of the affairs of government; keeping a safe physical distance from the capital reinforced that resolution.

Following Washington’s model, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and James Monroe each returned to their farms, in varying degrees of insolvency. True, John Quincy Adams, finding retirement dull, soon returned to public service as a congressman, a role he embraced and thrived in, but his ambitions were not imperial. Andrew Jackson and Martin Van Buren went home, too, when their terms in the White House were finished.

Read More: https://www.city-journal.org/html/shadow-president-15340.html

Obama to meet world leaders in India and China weeks after Trump’s visit

Former US President Barack Obama is planning on meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi during an upcoming visit to the two countries where he is scheduled to speak at various summits.

Mr Obama is scheduled to first make a stop in China, and then India, before flying to Paris, a spokesperson for the former president told The Hill.

The overseas trip was first reported by the Times of India last week, which noted that Mr Obama will be attending an Obama Foundation event in December.

The forty-fourth president’s trip to India will come on the heels of first daughter Ivanka Trump’s visit to the same country. President Donald Trump recently finished a five-nation tour of Asia, when he met both Mr Xi and Mr Modi. Ms Trump, who is also a White House adviser, recently met with Mr Modi during during her trip at the eight Global Entrepreneurship Summit in Hyderabad.

“It was an honour to meet with you Prime Minister Modi. Thank you for co-hosting the 8th annual Global Entrepreneurship Summit!” Ms Trump wrote on Twitter after the summit, where she had spoken about women entrepreneurs.

Since leaving the White House earlier this year, Mr Obama has broken from recent tradition for outgoing presidents  to wade into political debates facing the nation.

Read More: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/us-politics/obama-china-india-world-leaders-meetings-summit-foundation-latest-a8080951.html

Net Neutrality is Not Left Vs. Right, It’s the Establishment Vs. Your Freedom

Net Neutrality Truth

There is a massive debate going on in America right now when it comes to the notion of repealing Net Neutrality. Depending on which side of the political aisle you get your information from likely depends on how you feel about the issue. It is important to note, however, that both sides are missing key points to what this all means and why we are fighting over it.

It is agreed upon by both the left and the right that Net Neutrality was passed in 2015. And that’s where the agreement stops.

If you ask someone on the left what the repeal of Net Neutrality means, they will tell you that the big corporations will hike prices and cut off parts of the internet if it goes through. They will also tell you that the massive corporations are against Net Neutrality because it keeps them in check.

It is no secret that ISPs began hiking prices and throttling service. However, the major Internet Service Providers like Verizon, Xfinity and Comcast all say they support net neutrality. So, claiming it keeps them in check is not true.

The ISPs only want to remove the part of the current Net Neutrality which forces all the infrastructure built by these companies to be policed under a law originally made for phone companies called “Title II.”

Title II, created for the telecom industry in 1934, forces private companies to be classified as “common carriers.” A common carrier is a company that transports things from one place to another—like the post office. The government has stricter rules for common carriers that include regulating how much they can charge people and whether they can treat customers differently.

If we want to see how that would pan out for the future of the internet and it’s ever-changing infrastructure, we need only look at the failing US postal system, its crumbling foundation, and its multi-billion dollar loses it passes on to the taxpayers every year.

We don’t need the Flint, Mich. water equivalent of internet access. Net Neutrality will create this.

Designating ISPs as common carriers would essentially end investment and innovation into the internet.

We are told we need Net Neutrality because it is intended to prevent ISPs from offering preferential treatment to certain content over their lines. The rules prevent, for instance, AT&T from charging a fee to companies that want to stream high-definition videos to people, as the NY Times notes.

While this may seem like a reasonable idea on the surface, the reality is that the internet is not some unlimited free resource. Companies like AT&T have to limit each customer’s bandwidth as it is a shared resource among all their customers. Do not consider the aforementioned statement as an endorsement of AT&T as it is a simple truth.

Bandwidth is a limited resource. When companies like Netflix account for nearly 37% of all internet traffic, ISPs are forced to make decisions on how to deliver the other 63% of the entire internet who has to compete with a single website. Naturally, because Netflix is so popular, people become uneasy about hearing ISPs charging them a premium for its access.

However, it is a reality. If this premium is not charged to Netflix, then non-Netflix users end up subsidizing the consumption of Netflix users. Where’s the outcry now?

As Chris Calton writes, the reality of the scarcity of internet bandwidth cannot be legislated away. If Net Neutrality were to become policy, internet service providers will have to find alternative solutions for allocating bandwidth in an industry now contending with a disrupted price mechanism. Most likely, this would mean charging consumers higher prices for faster speeds than would otherwise be necessary, or placing data caps on home internet, as some service providers have already started to do.

Now, for the right’s take on the issue.

If you ask the folks on the right what the repeal of Net Neutrality means, it is taking the internet out of the control of the government. While this is technically correct on the surface, many of those on the right ignore the fact that all the major ISPs support Net Neutrality and they owe the very monopolies they have over information to the government.

Laws across the country essentially outlaw competition with the ISP monopolies. These barriers to market entry—created by the state at the behest of ISPs who are giving them millions to do it—is why this map below of who controls most of the internet in each state looks the way it does.

neutrality

Through the creation and use of various laws, the state sets out to prop up major ISPs because they lobby them to do so. This happens so often that there are actually terms for these government-created barriers ranging from red tape to making it outright illegal to compete with the monopolies.

These barriers were covered in an analysis by Craig Settles, a broadband consultant who works with cities to create municipal networks. There are three different “categories” of state law banning broadband competition. There are “If-Then” laws, which have some requirements for local networks such as a voter referendum or a requirement to give telecom companies the option to build the network themselves, rather than restrictions (some are easier to meet than others). Then there are “Minefield” laws, which are written confusingly so as to invite lawsuits from incumbent ISPs, financial burdens on starting new a network, or other various restrictions. Finally, you’ve got the outright bans.

“I look at all of these laws as subverting the democratic process. In all cases, they’re nullifying or subverting the ability for local communities to make their own decisions,” Settles said. “It’s also a bastardization of the free market process that incumbents say the laws are in defense of. In reality, if 10,000 people in a community decide their services are crap, then they can decide, as a market, to take their money and find or create another provider.”

The reality of Net Neutrality is that it is an attempt at putting a government-funded band-aid on a government-created wound and its proponents have no problem admitting to it.

For those that aren’t familiar, Free Press is the George Soros-funded net neutrality group who essentially wrote the “Open Internet Order” (OIO) regulating the Internet, passed by the FCC in 2015. Free Press is even mentioned 46 times in the actual legislation.

Free Press advocates for the theft of the infrastructure that was funded by private companies to make the internet a public resource or a right.

“What we want to have in the US and in every society is an Internet that is not private property, but a public utility. We want an Internet where you don’t have to have a password and that you don’t pay a penny to use. It is your right to use the Internet,” Robert McChesney, one of the founders of Free Press, stated.

While “free stuff” is an easy sell to those who don’t understand economics, the reality is it doesn’t exist. Consumers will most certainly be hit the hardest and the ISPs and the state will win. One need only look at how the insurance companies lobbied for Obamacare and the massive windfall they reaped as a result, along with the skyrocketing prices of healthcare for the rest of the country with dwindling coverage, to get a glimpse of where this legislation will lead.

If the socialist idea of stealing the product of the free market for use in the state doesn’t deter you from supporting it, consider the dystopian and outright unsecured nature of the government owning and operating the internet.

Not only do public utilities fail to ever innovate, but they are also notoriously horrible at protecting your privacy.

As FEE points out, when the Office of Personnel Management held the personal data of 21.5 million people, it was an easy target for hackers seeking access. The list of government agencies compromised by hackers continues to grow. Imagine if everyone’s personal information, including emails, browser history, and the data stored on “cookies” on computers was stored in one giant government entity that runs the Internet.

There are two clear paths the Internet might take, depending on which sides wins this battle over having a truly free, private Internet or one controlled by the government as a public utility. While the free market always supports innovation and consumers’ choices, government control has only led to corruption and inefficiency in all entities it controls.

Supporters have communicated exactly what they want. There can be no confusion about what the net neutrality agenda is all about: supporters of net neutrality demonize Internet service providers in their populist arguments for government control. But if they win their dream, consumers will be the real losers in this battle over Internet control.

If we really want to stop these mega-ISPs from controlling the web, granting them a government monopoly on the information exchange is the last thing we need to do. To truly have a free and open internet, we need to get government out of it altogether. Luckily, as TFTP has previously reported, this is already happening and Internet 2.0 could be a reality as early as 2020.

Read More: http://thefreethoughtproject.com/net-neutrality-left-vs-right/

Victim’s Testimony Reveals Establishment-Connected East Coast Trafficking Network

Break Their Chains

Allegations of sex abuse that began with Harvey Weinstein on the West Coast have incrementally shifted towards facets of the political, economic and media spheres of the U.S. Eastern seaboard. A surge in public willingness to come to terms with the stark reality of abuse perpetrated by members of the establishment suggests that it is time to re-examine the testimony of survivors who have previously come forward with allegations.

Disobedient Media spoke with Greg Bucceroni, a survivor of sex trafficking, who described his experiences in an alleged child sex ring in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s that primarily targeted troubled young boys on the East Coast. The network was said to be comprised of known human traffickers, abusers and producers of child pornography with ties to organized crime who openly associated with prominent political figures, including some who have been accused of indiscretions in the past.

While Bucceroni has been attacked by certain media outlets for his statements in 2012, Disobedient Media’s investigation into his claims found them to be highly credible. Bucceroni’s assertions are corroborated by media reports, emails published by Wikileaks, FBI documentation of mafia activity and testimony from a congressional committee hearing obtained through Freedom of Information Act requests.

Greg Bucceroni

Despite Bucceroni’s previous press interviews regarding his claims of abuse, a large portion of what Disobedient Media learned from him has never before been made public. Bucceroni’s story is particularly significant because his allegations reveal the intersection of political clout, organized crime and a systematic abuse of children that transcends political affiliation.

Mr. Bucceroni’s statements to Disobedient Media and other outlets ultimately provide a narrative of vulnerable youth who were sexually targeted by wealthy philanthropists, politicians and organized crime networks, often through charitable institutions.

Disobedient Media is the first outlet to confirm a connection between Bucceroni’s testimony and a nationwide criminal enterprise that trafficked underage sex workers and produced child pornography. This particular network was documented in 1982 by the New York State Select Committee On Crime. The committee’s report covers the time period in which Bucceroni describes being trafficked. After reviewing additional FBI documents, Disobedient Media can validate significant claims made by Bucceroni, and raise serious questions regarding currently active members of the political establishment.

Bucceroni initially gained public attention after his testimony was published by the New York Daily News, in 2012. The outlet’s report describes Bucceroni’s claims that he was a “child prostitute” associated with a pedophile ring that included former Philadelphia businessman, Ed Savitz, philanthropist Samuel Rappaport,  former Penn State coach, Jerry Sandusky, Coach Phil Foglietta, and former Wharton School of Business professor, Lawrence Scott Ward. Ward is currently serving a prison sentence for trafficking in child porn and smuggling photos and videos of himself having sex with a teenage Brazilian boy. Others involved with the abuse, according to Bucceroni, included Dennis Hastert, Lawrence King, and even former DNC Chair, Ed Rendell among others.

The Philadelphia native told Disobedient Media that he was initially motivated to come forward with his experiences in 2011, after the Sandusky pedophilia scandal emerged, because a friend of his had been raped by Sandusky as a minor. Bucceroni told us that his friend later committed suicide.

Notorious alleged pedophile Eddy Savitz

As Bucceroni told Disobedient Media, that he, himself, had been used as a child prostitute by infamous alleged pedophile Eddy Savitz. Bucceroni alleges that Savitz operated in conjunction with philanthropist Sam Rappaport, abusing a large number of troubled boys who were easily accessible through the South Philadelphia Boys Club.

In the wake of abuse allegations leveled at Sandusky, Reutersdescribed the Coach’s use of a charity he founded to procure specifically at-risk children, stating, “The Second Mile, [is] a charity for disadvantaged youth that prosecutors say founder Jerry Sandusky used to find his child sex abuse victims.” Reuters’ observation provides a sobering parallel to Bucceroni’s description of the South Philadelphia Boys Club as a pool of particularly vulnerable boys who Savitz easily accessed and victimized.

Bucceroni explained that he was a ‘juvenile delinquent,’ and that he was one of many other ‘troubled’ young boys prostituted by Savitz to influential pedophiles like Sandusky and Dennis Hastert in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s. Bucceroni’s statements to Disobedient Media indicated that influential pedophiles would typically target children who were financially and emotionally vulnerable to create a dependence on drugs or financial support, and that this often took place under the guise of philanthropy.

Bucceroni told Pundit Press that he was first introduced to Ed Savitz through social campaign events on behalf of prominent Democrat Ed Rendell during his bid for Philadelphia District Attorney.

Although Savitz was eventually arrested for alleged sexual abuse of minors, The Daily News reported that Savitz died of AIDS just before the beginning of his trial in 1993. The New York Times wrote that authorities recovered 5,000 images of child pornography from Savitz’ residence. Additional reports stated that 200 bags of dirty underwear and socks were also recovered, along with 100 photographs taken at a “storage facility.”

The New York Times added that Savitz had first been arrested on charges of sexual abuse of minors in 1978, but that Savitz’ record was expunged after completing a brief stint in rehab.  The Savitz case recalls the infamous Belgian Dutroux scandal. Like Marc Dutroux, Savitz appeared to be a middleman amongst an extensive ring of child abusers, rather than a lone predator. Bucceroni claims that as a result of being trafficked by Ed Savitz, he interacted with a number of prominent figures ranging from Dennis Hastert to Lawrence King, all of whom engaged in pedophilia. Bucceroni told Disobedient Media that these interactions often took place at official political events. Bucceroni recounted that children were exploited for sexual acts in after-parties once the political event ended.

Bucceroni told Disobedient Media that Lawrence King, central figure in the Nebraska Credit Union scandal, would host trips to “take kids from the South Philly Boys Club to Washington D.C.” Bucceroni explained that he was never tortured by Savitz or Lawrence King and was not personally aware of others being tortured but that Savitz used the “honey approach rather than vinegar.”

Convicted Pedophile and former Speaker of the House, Dennis Hastert. Image via CNN.

The victims in Savitz’s ring were moved between multiple cities. Bucceroni described one incident in 1979, at an after-party following a fundraiser on behalf of Ronald Reagan: “[It took place] in a townhouse somewhere in Washington DC. When we got there, there were kids from other areas. There was food, watching porn and alcohol and marijuana. We were introduced to guys, like a meet and greet. Afterwards, there was a post-party. Certain people were there… we negotiated a price, did whatever we did, then would go back in and do other sexual deviant acts.”

Bucceroni clarified that Ronald Reagan did not attend the after-party where children were prostituted, and that the after-party’s illegal activities were separate from the official event.

The attendants at the after-party included high ranking politicians who have since been accused of abuse in other cases. Bucceroni recounted the presence of convicted pedophile and former Speaker of the House, Dennis Hastert during the Ronald Reagan fundraising after-party: “Eddy Savitz gave me $40, for Denny. That was the interaction with Denny, who was Dennis Hastert. He was mingling with known adult sex traffickers, inside this after-party in Washington DC.” Bucceroni stated to Disobedient Media that Dennis Hastert was ‘hanging out with Eddy Savitz and Lawrence King.’

Salon reported that Hastert was eventually convicted due to his part in an “elaborate hush money scheme to cover up his years long molestation of teenage boys while he was an Illinois high school wrestling coach from 1965 until 1981.” The Republican was also characterized by the presiding judge as a serial sex offender.

Despite the severity of the allegations against Hastert, a surprisingly large number of prominent political figures called for leniency on his behalf.  The support Hastert received from colleagues is incredibly disturbing because it suggests that some elected leaders would publicly defend such a person without fear of electoral reprisal. This speaks to a pervasive culture of permissiveness towards sexual abuse among elected leaders that has come to the forefront of public awareness in recent months, as numerous sex abuse allegations were made against Harvey WeinsteinKevin SpaceyAl FrankenMark Helperin and many others. Bucceroni’s testimony illustrates that ambivalence towards sex abuse crosses the boundaries of political ideology.

Richard Basciano in his New York City office.
Image: LINDA ROSIER / N.Y. DAILY NEWS

Reports that Congressional sexual assault settlements were often billed to taxpayers further reveals an endemic tolerance towards sexual abusers in positions of power. In November 2017, Fox Newsrevealed that between 1997 and 2014, hundreds of women were paid $15.2 million in total in awards and settlements for Capitol Hill workplace violations. This recent episode provides a small glimpse into the ongoing attitude of leniency surrounding unchecked sexual abuses.

Bucceroni told Disobedient Media that his primary abuser, Ed Savitz, was connected to well-known figures in Philadelphia, Washington D.C. and New York. Savitz was joined, Bucceroni explained by “another philanthropist by the name of Sam Rappaport.”

In addition to Bucceroni’s allegation that Sam Rappaport engaged in pedophilia through his charity work with Savitz, Rappaport was a well-known slum-lord and a business partner of pornography mogul Richard Basciano. Bucceroni told Disobedient Media that Basciano’s documented pornography empire would facilitate the production of child pornography and snuff films for certain clientele.

Documents and media reports from the 1970’s and 80’s appear to corroborate this claim.

Basciano was reported to have partnered with mafia notable Robert DiBernado, who The New York Times lists as a captain in the Gambino crime family that was under federal investigation for child pornography at the time of his murder. The New York Times reported that “Mr. DiBernardo and Mr. Rothstein are officers of Star Distributors, a company that Federal prosecutors are investigating for involvement in child pornography.” The New York Daily News also confirms that in the 1980’s, Robert DiBernardo and Ted Rothstein were partners of Richard Basciano. FBI documents state outright that Basciano oversaw Star Distributors, which was referred to as an outlet well known for distributing child pornography.

Disobedient Media‘s publication of a report, gained through a Freedom of Information Act request, supports the timetable of connection between organized crime, producers of child pornography and sex trafficking. The 102-page report was the result of a New York State Select Committee On Crime.  The report described an investigation into child pornography and human trafficking by two detectives from the Washington D.C. Metropolitan Police. The findings were presented to officials on July 26, 1982.

FOIA excerpt mentioning Star Distributors, a child pornography outlet tied to Richard Basciano

The Select Committee On Crime’s proceedings included a statement by detectives referring to the Basciano-connected Star Distributors as one of the hubs of child pornography and  part of the wider criminal network. Detectives noted that the production of child pornography was virtually always associated with child sex trafficking for the purposes of prostitution.

This statement and the direct connection to figures named in Bucceroni’s testimony corroborates the manner in which Bucceroni alleges to have been sexually exploited along with other underage boys.

An excerpt from FBI documents which designate Star Distributors Ltd. as a source of child pornography.

Basciano’s numerous mafia ties and association with political figures provides an important nexus between the production of child pornography, organized crime, human trafficking and elected leaders.

Basciano had a well-documented friendship with Ed Rendell, a former District Attorney for Philadelphia, former Governor of Pennsylvania and former DNC Chair. Some press reports go so far as to suggest that Rendell shielded Basciano in the aftermath of a 2013 building collapse. An editorial by the Philadelphia Inquirer lamented that “It was disheartening to hear a former mayor, Ed Rendell, defend Richard Basciano,” during the ensuing scandal. The editorial appears to have since been removed from the Inquirer’s site.

In a report by the Inquirer, Basciano said that he regarded Rendell as a “good friend.”  Another 2013 report by the Inquirer also referred to Rendell as a longtime friend of Basciano’s, who had accepted campaign donations from corporations and family members of the pornography magnate. The article has since been removed from the Inquirer’s website but was located using a newspaper archive service.

This raises strong questions regarding Rendell’s longstanding friendship with Basciano in light of Bucceroni’s claim that prominent Democrat Ed Rendell engaged in pedophilia as well as his assertion that Basciano’s pornography outlets produced child abuse and snuff films. Michael Zaffarano was also mentioned in the Select Committee hearing, and acted as a mentor to Robert DiBernardo, adding further weight to the connection between Bucceroni’s claims and child exploitation as discussed on government record.

Samuel Rappaport is also reported to have contributed financially to Rendell. The financial and personal connection between Richard Basciano, Samuel Rappaport and the former DNC Chair clearly ties the former Governor to a documented mafia associate involved with the production of child pornography.

The Washington Post has described Rendell’s former Chief of Staff, David L Cohen, as ‘Comcast’s secret weapon.’ Bucceroni has also accused Cohen of wrongdoing. Cohen, now a Senior Executive Vice President of Comcast Corporation and the Company’s Chief Diversity Officer, served as Chief of Staff to Mayor Ed Rendell from 1991 to 1992.

The Washington Post described Cohen as: “One of the highest-paid corporate figures operating in Washington.” Cohen also serves as Chairman of the Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania and its Executive Committee, according to the Aspen InstituteCohen is also Executive Vice President of NBCUniversal Media. NBC has been in the recent media spotlight after allegations emerged regarding sexual assault by host Matt Lauer against a number of female colleagues. The media company also came under fire for its unwillingness to publish an early story covering the Weinstein scandal, with the New York Times publishing an article titled ‘How Did NBC Miss Out on a Harvey Weinstein Exposé?’

Bucceroni also told Disobedient Media that lobbyist Tony Podesta was known to be friends of figures such as Eddie Savitz and Richard Basciano, stating that he had seem them mixing at various philanthropic and social events in Philadelphia and New Jersey. He was careful to clarify that he had never personally witnessed Podesta interacting with minors in an untoward manner.

Ed Rendell. Image: (Dan Gleiter |dgleiter@pennlive.)

The Washington Post characterized the relationship between Rendell and Tony Podesta as ‘close,’ writing that Podesta was a top strategist for Rendell’s 2006 reelection campaign. Philadelphia press reports indicate that Rendell’s ex wife Midge, was appointed to the position of federal judge by President Bill Clinton in 1994.

Rendell was also reported to have been involved with a child trafficking incident in Haiti just after the 2010 earthquake. The Telegraph wrote that Rendell was instrumental in pushing for the illegal removal of dozens of children out of Haiti in the days following the massive quake: “A crucial intervention was made by Ed Rendell, the governor of Pennsylvania, who worked his high-powered contacts in the White House, State Department and Department of Homeland Security.”

Wikileaks emails sent during the crisis reveal that in behind-the-scenes discussion of Rendell’s Haitian efforts, Hillary Clinton’s aides characterized Rendell as extremely motivated to remove the children from Haiti as quickly as possible. The discussion included statements by Clinton aides showing an awareness that the children Rendell sought to fly from the earthquake-ravaged island nation included 12 minors who were not involved in any adoption process.

Excerpt from Wikileaks-published email showing discussion of Rendell’s efforts to remove orphans from Haiti

In fact, Rendell was so eager to fly the children out as quickly as possible that Clinton’s aides indicated that only the then-Secretary of State herself would be capable of reining Rendell in. An internal email in the chain published by Wikileaks states: “The only person who may be able to back Rendell off is Secretary Clinton. Has anyone looped Cheryl Mills in on this issue?”

Press reports related that final arrangements for the flight were negotiated by the U.S. State Department, Department of Homeland Security, and the military, according to Rendell’s spokesman, Gary Tuma. Tuma said Rendell was on the plane because the Haitian ambassador thought it was important to have “someone of his stature on the plane so if the mission ran into difficulty, he might be able to break down some of the barriers.” According to an additional email chain published by Wikileaks, the successful removal of the children relied specifically on the intervention of Patrick F. Kennedy, U.S. State Department’s Under Secretary of State for Management. Kennedy also played a role in helping to stifle investigations into a number of State Department scandals which occurred around the globe.

Even CNN anchor Anderson Cooper expressed concern with Rendell’s actions, asking why a Democratic governor could accomplish the evacuation of healthy children to the U.S. when “so many injured and dying people were suffering in Port-Au-Prince.” That Clinton insiders and CNN anchors would raise such concern in response to Rendell’s actions fuels questions as to the propriety of the children’s removal from Haiti. As CNN noted in November 2017, Haiti became a hot spot for human trafficking during the 2010 earthquake and orphanages in the country continue to facilitate forced labor and sex slavery today. Disobedient Media has previously exposed the involvement of the Clintons and U.S. Department of State in the Laura Silsby Haitian child trafficking scandal, first reported by William Craddick.

Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell, right, arrives on an Air Force plane carrying 53 Haitian orphans at Pittsburgh International Airport Tuesday, Jan 19, 2010 in Imperial, Pa. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar) (/ AP)

Rendell’s intervention in Haiti was not the only human trafficking scandal tied to the former DNC Chair. Bloomberg reported on allegations of “systemic human smuggling” of forced laborers and money laundering documented in relation to a Saipan casino project by Hong Kong-based Imperial Pacific, controlled by Chinese billionaire Cui Lijie. The New York Times wrote that Rendell served on the company’s Advisory Committee. Bloomberg reported that others involved with Imperial Pacific included former Directors of the FBI and CIA, former Louisiana Governor Haley Barbour and a former executive in President Donald Trump’s Atlantic City casino business.

In the wake of the money laundering and human trafficking scandal, Rendell stepped down from his role with Imperial Pacific, saying that the casino operation was “too far away” for him to “monitor effectively.”

Rendell has previously denied Bucceroni’s claims that he ignored information about Savitz’s abuse in the 70’s and 80’s while serving as a prosecutor. But the former governor’s proximity to the scandals in Haiti and Saipan is greatly alarming and raises questions about Bucceroni’s testimony.

Tony Podesta, a top strategist for Rendell’s 2006 reelection campaign. Image Credit: Luke Sharrett/The New York Times

Bucceroni has been criticized by media in his home town of Philadelphia, most notably by the Philadelphia Daily News, now consolidated with the Philadelphia Inquirer at Philly.com. The Daily News questioned why Bucceroni’s story changed as he remembered additional details about individuals he interacted with, citing an anonymous “federal law-enforcement source familiar with Bucceroni” who stated that Bucceroni was not credible. They also quoted John Veasey, a Philadelphia mob figure doing an 11-year sentence for ordering two murders, as disputing claims Bucceroni made that he was briefly affiliated with the mob as a teenager. It’s not clear why the Daily News thought that a convicted murderer affiliated with a criminal culture notorious for misleading the media and law enforcement was a reliable source.

Also curious is the Daily News’ skepticism over the change in Bucceroni’s story, reflecting new details as he remembered them. (Fragmented memories and amnesia are well-known symptoms of legitimate victims of trauma and abuse.) Mr. Bucceroni told Disobedient Media that, because many of the individuals he encountered operated on a first name only basis or used nicknames, it was sometimes only possible for him to identify them after their photos appeared in news reports. He further stated to Disobedient Media that the Daily News’ piece was published after Ed Rendell and Daily News co-owner Lewis Katz became upset that he had spoken to federal authorities and was taking his testimony to the media.

Despite the attempt to discredit his testimony, investigation into the details provided by Bucceroni reveals that the Daily News did not attempt to exercise due diligence in efforts to determine the credibility of the existence of a human trafficking ring operating in Philadelphia and the East Coast at the time that Bucceroni alleges to have been abused by Savitz and Savitz’s associates. As has been previously noted, there is ample documentation and media reports indicating that one such network did exist in the timeframe Bucceroni describes, and that it was tied to a number of the same figures Bucceroni named.

The American trafficking network described in the FOIA was reported to have had connections to various parts of the East Coast and cities across the United States such as San Francisco, Los Angeles, and New Orleans. In addition to its stated ties to organized crime, the trafficking networks were also said to be connected to British, Israeli, and Soviet intelligence services. Intelligence agencies have a documented history of seeking sexual blackmail to exert control over public figures and government assets.

It’s still not entirely clear how many others were associated with or acted as clients of these rings. The individuals named by Bucceroni were solely connected to East Coast locations of the nationwide network. This raises questions as to other high profile figures in states such as California might also be connected by association to such a horrific trade.

With the flood of abuse allegations emerging daily in the wake of the Weinstein scandal, abuse must be investigated unscrupulously. Survivors like Greg Bucceroni must be taken seriously if any new consciousness surrounding sexual abuse is to emerge. The Huffington Post recently wrote of the Weinstein scandal: “Since Harvey Weinstein’s downfall, we as a society have apparently decided to try this radical new idea called “believing women.” We propose that as a society we also try the radical idea of believing the children.

Read More: https://disobedientmedia.com/2017/12/victims-testimony-reveals-establishment-connected-east-coast-trafficking-network/

Why So Serious, Johnny? John Podesta Lashes Out At Supporter Over Pizzagate Question

Nothing to see here

Former Clinton campaign manager John Podesta jumped down the throat of feministand Political Science major Nicole Kiprilov in front of 300 people at Duke University Wednesday, after the undergrad asked Podesta questions about how he responds to various controversies including ‘Pizzagate,’ Uranium One, The Podesta Group, and Joule Unlimited – a now-defunct Boston green energy company Podesta sat on the board of along with to two Russian officials, which received $35 million from the Kremlin while Hillary Clinton was Secretary of State.

Via the Duke Chronicle:

“when junior Nicole Kiprilov asked him how he was dealing with accusations of being involved with the now-debunked “Pizzagate” scandal, that he owned 75,000 “undisclosed” shares of stock from a company with Russian Kremlin ties and Uranium One being a client of the Podesta Group—among other allegations—he didn’t hold back.

This is how the alt-right does fake news,” Podesta said. “It’s personally painful because a lot of this is really total bullsh*tMy family and I have been put through this Pizzagate bullsh*t now for a year—which has totally been debunked, by the way.

Kiprilov didn’t have a chance to ask a followup question such as what playing dominoes on cheese vs. pasta means, before the 68 year-old Podesta launched into a defense of his involvement with failed green energy company Joule Unlimited – which he owned 75,000 shares he transferred to his daughter via a shell corporation before joining Hillary Clinton’s campaign.

My relationship with the company that you talked about, that was based in Boston, an American innovative company—I totally disclosed, and Fox has had to correct that twice” –John Podesta

Yes – it’s an American company, which received $35 million from the Kremlin and had two high ranking Russians on its board of directors aside from Podesta; senior Russian official Anatoly Chubais and oligarch Reuben Vardanyan – a Putin appointee to the Russian economic modernization council.  

The Podesta Group

In response to the next question from an audience member about how John feels about his brother Tony Podesta of the Podesta Group being under FBI investigation, John Podesta made sure to distance himself from Tony as he stammered through his response:

“Look I think my brother, uh, uh, A) I’m not my brother. Does it worry me? You know, I, I, It’s, it’s painful. I mean his firm, uh, uh, after many years in business, uh, uh, un-unraveled as a result of, I think of the fact that it was under investigation,” adding that he thinks Tony’s involvement with Manafort’s partner Rick Gates and Congressman Vin Weber (R-MN) was ill advised.

Alas, nobody asked him about explosive claims from a “long time former Podesta Group executive” who was “extensively” interviewed by Robert Mueller’s FBI Special Counsel and claims that in 2013, John Podesta recommended brother Tony hire David Adams – Hillary Clinton’s chief adviser at the State Department, giving the Podesta Group a “direct liaison” between the group’s Russian clients and Hillary Clinton’s State Department.

Nicole Kiprilov responds

Kiprilov – a Political Science junior and UN intern who has studied at Stanford, Oxford, and is the president of Duke University’s ‘premier feminist magazine,’ Phoenix – was disappointed in Podesta’s responses, telling the Duke Chronicle

“Pizzagate was a conspiracy theory, but the other allegations, I don’t know,” Kiprilov said. “If he had been a bit calmer and more mature in answering the questions, I would have been satisfied. I was disappointed that he got so angered and triggered by my question.”

A self-identified Republican who says she is not part of the alt-right, Kiprilov said she felt that Podesta misunderstood the nature of her question.

I did not imply that I believed any of this,” she said. “I think he immediately assumed I did, so he lumped me with the alt-right crowd, which was very unfortunate that he jumped to that conclusion.”

Kiprilov caught up with Podesta after the event to let him know she’s not a member of the alt-right.

Before the night was over, Podesta answered questions about Russia’s effect of the election, stating that while he didn’t think Russia’s efforts to interfere with voting on election day succeeded, bots and Facebook ads spreading fake news did.

“I do think that had an effect,” Podesta said, adding “It eats away at you underneath. You don’t fully sense it because it’s not bubbling up to the mainstream.”

Or, maybe Russian internet bots, Pokémon Go and Facebook ads promoting liberal activism are perhaps the lamest possible excuses for why Hillary Clinton lost the election.

Read More: http://ibankcoin.com/zeropointnow/2017/12/01/john-podesta-bites-head-off-feminist-over-pizzagate-question-at-duke-university-video/#sthash.4nHuz7qx.dpbs

WaPo Reporter Caught On Hidden Camera Being A Bit Too Honest; Admits “No Evidence” Of Trump-Russia Collusion

Big Nothing Burger

After exposing the shocking, yet predictable, political bias of journalists at CNN and New York Times, Project Veritas has now set their sights on the Washington Post.  In a candid conversation with an undercover Project Veritas journalist, the Post’s National Security Director, Adam Entous, put himself in danger of being a bit too honest, at least by his employer’s standards, by admitting that “there’s no evidence of [Trump-Russia collusion] that I’ve seen so far.” Entous goes on to admit that “it’s a fucking crap shoot” and that he has no idea how Mueller’s investigation might turn out.

Entous: “Our reporting has not taken us to a plcae where I would be able to say with any confidence that the result of it is going to be the president being guilty of being in cahoots with the Russians.  There’s no evidence of that that I’ve seen so far.”

PV Journalist: “There has to be something, right?”

Entous“Maybe, maybe not.  It could just be lower-level people being manipulated or manipulating, but it’s very hard to, it’s really…It’s a fucking black box.”

“We’ve seen a lot of flirtation, if you will, between them but nothing that, in my opinion, would rank as actual collusion.  Now that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t exist, it just means we haven’t found it yet.  Or maybe it doesn’t exist.”

“I mean it’s a fucking crap shoot. I literally have no prediction whatsoever as to what would happen, and I do all the stuff for the Post on this so…”

Of course, on the surface, Entous’ opinions are not that explosive and likely mimic the views held by many Americans…namely that despite 1.5 years of investigations no one has presented any actual, tangible evidence of Trump-Russia collusion.

That said, what is explosive about this particular undercover sting is just how different Entous’ private views on the Trump-Russia investigation are from the constant stream of narrative-building collusion headlines that flood the Washington Post’s homepage each and every day.

Like this one…

Or this one if you prefer…

Of course, rather than focus on the blatant media bias that has once again been exposed by Project Veritas, the mainstream media rushed to the defense of the Washington Post by focusing instead on the foiled attempt of one of O’Keefe’s journalists to plant a fake story at WaPo to see if they would simply run it with no questions asked or actually do their jobs.  Apparently CNN thought the foiled plot had put O’Keefe “on the defensive”…

PV

…but O’Keefe seemed to not be all that defensive in his response below…which presumably means we’ll all be treated to many more undercover stings in the years to come.

MSM want to destroy @Project_Veritas. They see us as their enemy. When we expose them, they are lose their power. We have a stone lodged between Goliath’s eyes. They want me to kneel down & apologize. I will not. We will keep pushing, we will expose the truth. –@JamesOKeefeIII

Finally, here is the latest Project Veritas video for your viewing pleasure:

Sweden’s New Government Censorship

More from the globalist agenda to destabilize prosperous countries using mass immigration à la Joseph Stalin.   …P.D.

the EU vs. Europe

by Judith Bergman
November 29, 2017

  • In the report, placing the word “refugees” in quotation marks, as well as “unaccompanied children,” is supposedly an expression of “hate”. (Many, if not most, migrants classified as “unaccompanied children” have turned out to be grown men).
  • Government agencies are going out of their way to protect the “integrity” of possible jihadists out of concern for a “democratic society” — the society that these jihadists want to subvert and destroy — and are using their government platform to smear non-mainstream media for matters as small as the use of quotation marks. What about the “integrity” of Swedish citizens and their right to not be blown up?
  • Why is a municipality sponsoring an organization that supports terrorists and even awarding it prizes? It appears that glorifying terrorism is acceptable in Sweden, so long as its victims are the Israeli children. Far from countering “hate”, Sweden appears to be doing all it can to strengthen Muslim extremism.

The Swedish government is now officially questioning free speech. A government agency has declared so-called Swedish “new media” — news outlets that refuse to subscribe to the politically correct orthodoxies of the mainstream media — a possible threat to democracy. In a government report, tellingly called “The White Hatred” written by Totalförsvarets forskningsinstitut (Total Defense Research Institute), a government agency under the Swedish Ministry of Defense, Swedish new media such as Samhällsnytt (formerly known as Avpixlat), Nyheter Idag and Nya Tider are lumped together with neo-Nazi media such as Nordfront.

“Hate” is defined broadly to include violent extremism, “hateful expressions”, jokes, internet trolling and even the use of certain quotation marks. For instance, in the report, placing the word “refugees” in quotation marks, as well as “unaccompanied children,” is supposedly an expression of “hate”. (Many, if not most, migrants classified as “unaccompanied children” have turned out to be grown men).

“One might find,” according to the report’s conclusion, “that pluralism of information sources… is a positive addition in a democratic society where freedom of speech is an important foundation”, but “the new media… stretch the limits of free speech,” which “threatens other democratic values”. The report further alleges that society risks becoming tolerant of the intolerant. That is rather rich coming from the authorities of a European country that has accepted Islamic intolerance to an astounding degree. There is even a proposal from a government minister to reintegrate returning ISIS fighters, who might still wish to destroy the tolerant society that houses them.

The report is part of a series commissioned by the Swedish government to conduct quantitative mapping and analyses of violent extremist propaganda spread in Sweden by the internet and social media. The survey is supposed to include violent extremist environments in Sweden: right-wing extremism, left-wing extremism and Islamic extremism.

A previous report, “The Digital Caliphate,” supposedly looks at Islamic extremism, but is rendered useless in a Swedish context by explicitly refusing to engage with concrete ISIS propaganda in Sweden for “ethical” reasons:

“It is not in itself illegal to sympathize with violent ideologies. Our work is not about mapping the views of private people, as that would be incompatible with an open democratic society. Our analyses have therefore been limited to protect the integrity of private persons. No data has been collected from pages protected by passwords, closed Facebook pages or other types of Facebook pages or social media where the user has sought to keep the material within a closed group. All the material comes from open sources… this means that the material analyzed is limited as a large part of ISIS propaganda happens in closed channels…”

Government agencies in charge of national security, in other words, are going out of their way to protect the “integrity” of possible jihadists out of concerns for a “democratic society” — the society that these jihadists want to subvert and destroy. Meanwhile, these agencies are using their government platform to smear non-mainstream media for matters as small as the use of quotation marks. What about the “integrity” of Swedish citizens and their right to not be blown up? Furthermore, this desire to protect the privacy of potential jihadists means that the most vital part of the work — mapping the extent of Islamist violent propaganda in Sweden — is still left undone.

Sweden’s government agencies in charge of national security are going out of their way to protect the “integrity” of jihadists — people like Mikael Skråmo, a Swedish convert to Islam and jihadist who went to fight for ISIS in Syria, and urged Muslims in Sweden to bomb their workplaces.

At the same time, the Swedish establishment has its own private vigilante mob acting as the thought police. A 76,000-member closed Facebook group, called “Jagärhär” (“I am here”), is a private initiative founded by journalist Mina Dennert to attack opinions on social media with which its members disagree. “She noticed that there were people around us who had been frightened into believing all these images painted by ‘alternative media’ of people of foreign backgrounds as violent criminals… ” explains Dennert’s husband, one of the group’s administrators, who works for Swedish state television. The network has already won four prizes for its “work” in Sweden, including a prize from the Swedish group “Equalisters” (‘Rättviseförmedlingen’), which awarded the network their annual prize, naming it the group that had done the most for equality in 2016. Dennert was also awarded the Anna Lindh Prize.

The methods of “Jagärhär” vary. One tactic is to send mass complaints against a Facebook profile, causing it to be removed by the social media giant. This verdict by mob rule is what happened to the Swedish-Czech author Katerina Janouch, whose profile was shut down several times by Facebook — the apparent result of publishing, among other things, a satirical guide to political correctness. The network, which is one year old, is believed to be closely associated with Sweden’s national public television and the Social Democratic party.

Mina Dennert, also with close connections to the Swedish government, had her network apply for half a million Swedish kroner (nearly $60,000) government grant to support its work, which involved shutting down dissent on social media. Her network, however, recently withdrew its application after its dubious “work” had been revealed by none other than the new media in Sweden. The Jagärhär network has apparently inspired similar projects in other countries, such as #IchBinHier in Germany.

Meanwhile, Islamic extremists in Sweden continue their work. In Malmö, Group 194 — a Swedish-Muslim group that glorifies terrorism and actively sympathizes with the Arab terrorist group Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine(DFLP) — participated in one of the DFLP’s activities in Malmö in 2016. At the meeting, in which Swedish socialists apparently also participated, the participants reportedly celebrated the Ma’alot massacre, an Arab terrorist attack on an Israeli school in 1974 in which 115 hostages (including 105 children) were taken and 25 were murdered. The group, it seems, also routinely carries posters of Arab terrorists when it marches in the streets of Malmö on International Workers’ Day. Group 194’s entire work is focused on virulent anti-Israeli activism, as evidenced by its Facebook page. Sweden clearly has no problem with allowing hate speech from DFLP terrorists in Malmö.

This Swedish-Muslim group, bizarrely, is part of an initiative to make Malmö safe (Trygg Malmö or “Safe Malmö”). As part of this work, it is responsible for patrolling Rosengård — one of the most problematic no-go zones in Malmö — at night. The group was awarded SEK 10,000 (about $1,000) recently by the Malmö municipality — together with the other groups in Trygg Malmö — for its work in Rosengård. Why is a municipality sponsoring an organization that supports terrorists and even awarding it prizes? It appears that glorifying terrorism is acceptable in Sweden, so long as its victims are the Israeli children.

Originally, a Swedish administrative court, in a recent decision, ruled that there was no basis for denying the Muslim organization Young Muslims of Sweden (SUM) its state subsidy. Young Muslims of Sweden, which is connected to the Muslim Brotherhood, had been denied state subsidies by the Swedish Ministry of Youth and Civil Affairs, as Young Muslims of Sweden and its member organizations “have been identified as an environment” where some individuals do not respect the ideas of democracy. The Swedish court did not think that there was sufficient evidence for taking away the state subsidy, so Young Muslims of Sweden may soon find its activities funded by taxpayers once more.

Far from countering “hate”, Sweden appears to be doing all it can to strengthen Muslim extremism.